I was recently inspired by this picture of Jesus which I saw on The Christian Left‘s FB page.

An insubordinate rebel..yeah, I can relate to that.

This is the Jesus I love. Sadly, I’m not sure he’s always the same one associated with mainstream Christianity. The one that turned the tables in the temple, furious that people were turning the house of God into a moneymaking extravaganza.

 This is the guy that went out of his way to hang with the outcasts of his day, we would call it Assertive outreach. He ate and drank with tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers. He didn’t judge, just gently pointed people to a better way. This was grace, in action.

 He offended the religious types so much that they killed him. He refused to perpetuate the barriers they had created which stopped the average person from knowing God. The rules and regulations, the ways to behave which they thought earned them favour.

Sorry but as soon as the man-made rules and judgements kick in, I’m off. Tell me not to do something I do it, tell me to do something, I generally don’t do it. I seem to be wired that way. Insubordinate.

One of the common mistakes I make is to think that if I’m not thinking along the same lines as others, God doesn’t love me. I believe grace in theory but sometimes don’t always apply it to my life. I can get caught up in religiosity.

Yes, God is holy. Jesus came to bring us into relationship with him. I struggle with the word ‘Sin’ and the negative connotations it has. Fire and brimstone preaching has alienated the average Joe from even wanting to seek God by using such fear-based, negative language which is full of condemnation. I try to understand  ‘Sin’ as simply as  ‘missing the mark’, ‘falling short’..or anything which stands in the way of us and God. separation from the Divine. Whatever we may think, we all do it but the truth is God loves sinners!

That’s why the message of Grace is so important. God so loved the world that he gave his only son (John 3:16). He loves us as we are. We can’t do anything more or less to earn his love. We have it. We are created in his image. It’s almost too incredible to accept, I know.

The sooner we realise that its God who has to work in people’s hearts, not us. The more able we are to meet people where they are at and really show them the Grace and love of God.

We are all ragamuffins, each of us comes beat-up, burnt-out, ragged and dirty to sit at our Father’s feet” Brennan Manning -‘The Ragamuffin Gospel